Report highlights the regulation of nanotechnology

By Simon Pitman

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Personal care products Nanotechnology Cosmetics

The Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies has published a report
outlining key ways the technology can be safely regulated.

The report, published on January 11, claims that laws protecting public health and safety regarding nanotechnology are not developing at a pace adequate to match the introduction of products that utilize nano materials.

The report says that nanotechnology is difficult to address because of existing regulations, but equally stresses that regulation is important because it is still not not what the effects of using smaller particles in consumer products can be.

The group calls for laws to identify and protect the public from any potential future risks because changes to the structure and/or size of a a particle can change its basic chemical or material properties, which could render it toxic.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which both handle regulationary aspects relating to personal care products, have said that their regulatory options are adequate to cover nano-engineered materials.

However, the report points out that, although these regulatory bodies may have outlined specific requirements relating to food and drink products, the regulation of nanotechnology has not been fully interpreted for personal care products.

In 2004, a UK report commissioned by the British government and carried out by the Royal Society and the Royal Academy of Engineering, extolled the virtues of nanotechnology while simultaneously warning about the dangers.

Falling short of recommending a total ban on the production of nanoparticles, the report also stressed the potential change in the particle properties bought on by nanontechnology.

Currently The Royal Society recommends that cosmetic products using nanotechnology are clearly labelled as such. But this is just a recommendation.

Nanotechnology involves the study and use of materials at an extremely small scale - at sizes of millionths of a millimetre - and exploits the fact that some materials have different properties at this ultra-small scale from those at a larger scale. One nanometer is the same as one millionth of a millimeter.

For the cosmetics industry, it has so far proved an effective technology for both sunscreen and anti-aging products. This is because active ingredients can be developed on a nano level, increasing their ability to be absorbed by the dermal layers of the skin, and thus upping efficacy.

Related topics Formulation & Science

Related news

Show more